Opposition parties condemned the police lathicharge on protesting farmers in Haryana’s Karnal on Saturday and termed it as inhuman act.
Some farmers were injured following lathicharge by the police to disperse a group of farmers who were heading towards Karnal to protest against a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) meeting attended by the Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.
Former Chief Minister and Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda said farmers were protesting peacefully around 15 kilometers from the BJP’s meeting venue. “It was the Constitutional right of the farmers. The action shows the intention of the government seems to have already made up its mind to beat up the farmers. There should be impartial investigation into the whole incident and strict action should be taken against the erring police personnel and officials,” Hooda said.
Former leader of the Haryana Congress Legislature Party (CLP) Kiran Choudhry also condemned the lathi charge. “It is a condemnable act of the government and with this its countdown has started. The people will teach the BJP-JJP alliance a lesson in coming days. Instead of addressing the issues of the farmers, protesting on Delhi borders’ for the last nine months, the government is using force on farmers,” Chaudhary said.
Strongly condemning the action, senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted, “Khattar Sahab, today you have rained lathis on Haryanvis’ soul. coming generations will remember the blood of farmers which has been spilled on the roads”.
Indian National Lok Dal senior leader Abhay Singh Chautala also strongly condemned the police action.
According to reports, around 10 people were injured as police allegedly lathi-charged a group of farmers disrupting traffic movement on a highway while heading towards Karnal to protest against a BJP meeting. The affected routes included the Fatehabad-Chandigarh, Gohana-Panipat and the Jind-Patiala highways, and the Ambala-Chandigarh and the Hisar-Chandigarh national highways.
Haryana Bhartiya Kisan Union (Chaduni) chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni alleged that the police brutally lathi-charged the protesting farmers, leaving many injured. Several protesters present at the site near the Bastara toll plaza around 15 km from Karnal claimed to have witnessed 8-10 people sustain injuries in the police action. The police, however, said only mild force was used as the protesters were blocking the highway, affecting traffic movement.
Farmers protesting the Central farm laws have been opposing public functions of the BJP-JJP combine in Haryana. Several farmers had gathered at the Bastara toll plaza near Karnal, responding to a call given by the BKU.
Citing section 144 of the CrPC imposed in the area banning assembly of five or more people, the police made several announcements over loudspeakers, declaring the gathering by the protesters “unlawful”. Initially, they asked the farmers to disperse, but resorted to force as the protesters refused to budge.